Diocese of Pittsburgh Priest Found Not Guilty; SNAP responds
(For Immediate Release November 14, 2022)
A Diocese of Pittsburgh priest was found not guilty of aggravated indecent assault against a minor with related charges. Jurors returned the verdict today in the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Fr. Robert Joseph Cedolia was placed on administrative leave in 2019 after an allegation was made against him through the Reconciliation and Compensation Program for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. According to diocesan records, Fr. Cedolia was working at Our Lady of Joy in Plum, Pennsylvania, at the time of the accusation.
These allegations stem from two sexual assaults committed in 1998. Unfortunately, the incident is said to have occurred while the young child was attending First Communion training. For us, using the sacrament as a weapon adds to the terrifying trauma of this crime.
It is shocking that jurors found Cedolia not guilty of these crimes despite the great work of the prosecutors. We applaud and stand firmly in the belief of the victim in this case who bravely shared his truth while taking the stand. We are deeply grateful that he had the courage and strength to expose the allegations in a trial. While this may feel like a betrayal again at this point, we believe that over time, he will be proud of what he has achieved.
Regardless of what jurors, legislators, and church officials do or don't do, we stand behind all who have seen, suspected, or suffered child sex crimes or cover-ups in Catholic churches and institutions. In the meantime, call the police and ask for help to protect your child. Call a therapist, call law enforcement to find a wrongdoer, or contact a support group like ours to find solace. This way, children are safer, adults are rehabilitated, criminals are prosecuted, cover-ups are deterred, and the truth is revealed.
Our thoughts are with this victim, and his strength inspires us. We encourage anyone who may have experienced, witnessed, or suspected sexual abuse by Fr. Cedolia to report it immediately to law enforcement.
CONTACT: Michael McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267.261.0578), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517.974.9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President ([email protected], 814-341-8386)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)